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Chamber and committees

Meeting of the Parliament

Meeting date: Thursday, November 16, 2023


Points of Order

Liam Kerr (North East Scotland) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

This week, the Scottish Government finally accepted that its claim that Scotland had 25 per cent of Europe’s offshore wind potential was wholly wrong. The correct figure is 6 to 7 per cent. Angus Robertson is walking out of the chamber, but he might wish to wait for this moment. Angus Robertson was officially advised to stop using the misleading figure on 28 September 2022, but he continued to state it as truth until at least 18 October 2022, including in meetings with foreign Governments.

Members across the chamber have raised repeated concerns that that was a breach of the ministerial code. The former First Minister swept that under the carpet. What powers does the Presiding Officer have to compel the current First Minister to ask the independent adviser on the ministerial code to establish whether knowingly giving false statistics to foreign Governments is a breach of the ministerial code?

The Presiding Officer (Alison Johnstone)

I thank Mr Kerr for his point of order on a matter that he has previously raised and which I have previously addressed.

As members are aware, the accuracy of members’ contributions is not a matter for the chair to rule on and is not covered by standing orders. However, as a matter of courtesy and respect, I expect all members always to be accurate in their contributions. The Scottish ministerial code also states that it is of paramount importance that ministers give accurate and truthful information to the Parliament and that inadvertent errors are corrected at the earliest opportunity.

Stephen Kerr (Central Scotland) (Con)

On a point of order, Presiding Officer.

About two or three minutes ago, an email arrived to tell us that there will be a personal statement from Michael Matheson at 2 o’clock. We in the chamber—and the watching Scottish public—might want to know whether we will be able to ask questions of Michael Matheson once he has delivered his statement. If he is not going to be subjected to questions, I think that the people of Scotland will wonder exactly what is going on in this Parliament.

The Presiding Officer

I thank Mr Kerr for his point of order. Standing orders make it clear that personal statements are not debated.

Before we move to the next item of business, I will suspend business to enable the public gallery and the chamber to clear.

12:49 Meeting suspended.  

12:51 On resuming—